Remember Hangman? That old classic diddy where you guess the letters of a word before your hangman ends up dead? Well if you hate spelling but are just keen about gallows, Russian mobile and PC game developer Herocraft puts the power over life and death in the palm of your hands with their quirky new IOS title, Gibbets 2 — sequel to the popular flash and iPhone game Gibbets.
Gibbets 2 is a physics-based action puzzler that is part Angry Birds and part Cut the Rope. In each level you’ll discover innocent people hanging helplessly by their necks from the hangman’s noose, gasping desperately for air. You, equipped with a bow, a handful of arrows and your quick reflexes are their last chance at life…and oxygen. The objective is to use your fingers to carefully aim the bow and loose an arrow at the victim’s rope in hopes of cutting them free without injuring or killing them. Your arrows are limited, and if you hit your helpless buddy in the head or body, he’ll scream obscenities at you while his life bar (which decreases over time) diminishes, bringing him that much closer to his painful demise.
It takes a little practice to get the feel and timing for the bow and arrow, and can prove awkward when launching bolts in quick succession. You can manipulate the bow from anywhere on the screen regardless of it’s placement, and each arrow loosed leaves a trace behind so you can line up your next shot. Arrows fall under the laws of gravity, so hitting the target will depend on your ability to deliver an arrow with just the right angle and power.
As the stages start to get difficult, they also get more creative…and the number of targets multiply. Every victim suffocates at the same rate of speed, so the more people choking at once, the more frantic the level; and it’s not always as simple as shooting arrows in a straight line. Some victims are hidden behind walls or other obstacles (like windmills and explosives) and can’t be rescued without the use of arrow bubbles, which when hit, shoot a second arrow in the direction indicated. Some even rotate and shoot multiple arrows in all directions. A couple of levels sport portals as well, which when struck will teleport your bow to a more convenient location.
Every level measures your performance by score, which is determined by your completion speed and your remaining arrows. If saving people just isn’t tough enough and you’re quick on the draw, use extra arrows to grab bonus bubbles and perform combos by saving multiple victims with a single shot. Upping the difficulty will give you fewer arrows and make the vics suffocate faster, but will also double your points. Get enough points and you’ll earn the highest rank on a level, 3 stars!
The look and style of Gibbets 2 is colorful and intentionally silly, but awfully simplistic. The animations are smooth and the physics of the rag doll and arrows function as intended. It’s a tad disturbing to see the victims bleed when hit, and their faces turning purple as they choke is a bit off putting; but it’s only mildly violent in a purposely cartoonish sort of fashion. The BGM features some western themed acoustics and instrumental tracks, which are pleasant and suitable for the game’s setting. As is often the case, you can mute the music and ringer in the options, and change the game’s language too. Overall, if you’ve got a long bus ride home or need to kill some time at the doctor’s office, this game is a great way to fill the void. With 50 replayable levels to choose from and leaderboards for online competitions with friends, Gibbets 2 is a fun little distraction that won’t leave you hanging.